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Tag Archive | "city of cedar springs"

City hires new finance director

Previous director takes job with Rockford

Pictured (L to R) is Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl, former Finance Director Linda Lehman, new Finance Director Karen Mushong, and City Manager Christine Burns.

The City of Cedar Springs said goodbye Monday to Finance Director Linda Lehman, after 10 years of service with the city. The longtime Cedar Springs resident recently took a job as the Finance Director for the City of Rockford.
“It’s been tough coming to terms with Linda leaving,” said Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns. “She has been a part of the team for 10-plus years and possesses a great deal of knowledge and understanding of the city’s finances. She’s become a great friend as well. On one hand I’m devastated to lose her, but from a personal standpoint, I’m thrilled for her and her family.”
Lehman is being replaced by Karen Mushong, of Comstock Park. She worked at Plante & Moran, PLLC from 1998-2008 as an audit associate/senior manager, and then at Mosaic Properties, Inc. from August 2008 to August 2011 as controller.
“There is comfort in knowing that Karen is stepping into the job with a very strong financial background and Linda left everything in great condition,” said Burns. She also noted that Mushong is fortunate to have a great support staff working with her to make the transition as easy as possible.
Lehman has offered to help as needed but doesn’t foresee needing to come back too often due to Mushong’s experience with Plante Moran.

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City receives tree grant

The City of Cedar Springs recently received a grant for $1,800 for the purchase and planting of 18 trees throughout the city. The grant was made possible through the Michigan Forestry and Park Association and Consumers Energy.
The trees planted last week included three sugar maples along the bank of Cedar Creek in Veterans Park (to help produce shade to keep the creek cool for trout); five Cedar trees on the south bank of the creek behind the firebarn; five flowering crabapple trees on Man Street between Beech and Maple Streets; and five red sunset maples in the new section of Elmwood Cemetery.
“We’re really thankful to Consumers Energy and the MFPA for making this possible,” said DPW Supervisor Roger Belknap.
Earlier this year the city received a grant for 12 trees from DTE Energy, and planted a mixture of crabapple and lilac throughout the Main Street streetscape.

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City dedicates Gust pavilion

City officials and the Gust family gathered for the dedication of the Clara Gust Gazebo Monday at the White Pine Trail. L to R: Councilor Ashley Bremmer, Councilor Pat Capek, former Mayor Linda Hunt, Councilor Ken Benham, Lolly and Gary Gust, Mayor Charlie Watson, Izzy Tackmann, Michelle Tackmann, Jeff Gust, and City Manager Christine Burns.

By Judy Reed

This rock, donated by the Dean Wall family, holds the plaque honoring Clara Gust. L to R: Michelle Tackmann, Izzy Tackmann, Jeff Gust, Lolly and Gary Gust.

Clara Gust, 90, will long be remembered by the residents of Cedar Springs and all the people who use the White Pine Trail staging area at W. Maple and Second Streets. The city dedicated a pavilion there in her honor Monday.
Clara’s son, Gary Gust, told the Post in a previous interview that when he heard that the city of Cedar Springs wanted his property at the end of Maple and Second Street for a staging area, he knew what he wanted to do with it. He and his wife, Lolly, and his sister, Joanne, decided to donate the property, with one stipulation. “I wanted them to build some sort of structure, such as a gazebo, and put a plaque on the building dedicating it to our mother,” explained Gary.
The city agreed, and the gazebo was built last fall by Charlie Nelson, 16, and other volunteers for an Eagle Scout project. A plaque in Clara’s honor was placed on a rock that was donated by the Dean Wall family.
Clara moved here in the 1930s with her parents, George and Nellie Ruth (Lockwood) Sillaway, from Ada. Her father was the last station agent here for the Grand Trunk Railroad, and retired after 47 years of service.
Clara graduated from Cedar Springs High School as salutatorian of her class, and worked in several local businesses. She married Roger Gust and they had three children—Gary, Joanne, and Beverly.
Several members of the family were present for the dedication, including Gary, his wife Lolly, son Jeff Gust, daughter Michelle Tackmann, and her daughter Izzy Tackmann. Clara was unable to attend due to her health.
Mayor Charlie Watson said the location of the pavilion would be a hub for the future of Cedar Springs. “The Clara Gust Gazebo will be a pleasant rest stop for travelers on the White Pine Trail. They will be able to picnic and relax here, children will be able to play here and visit one of the city’s original flowing wells, fish in Cedar Creek, and one day visit the new Cedar Springs Public Library or skateboard at the skate park or listen to concerts at the amphitheater that the city hopes to one day add to this part of town,” he said.
The White Pine Trail staging area has been made possible by a matching grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund. Besides the gazebo, new picnic tables, benches and a bike rack have been installed, and bathrooms will be installed later this year.

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Fire Chief Gross appreciation party

Chief Gross was presented with an axe by the fire department for his years of service. Photo by T. Noreen.

The City of Cedar Springs held an appreciation party for former Fire Chief Jerry Gross Sr. last Thursday, June 9, before the city council meeting. Gross decided to step down from administrative duties, at the end of May, after 11 years as Fire Chief. “My intent is to stay with the department and still run fires and medical calls,” explained Gross, who turns 64 in September. He has been on the fire department for 32 years.
The Post thanks Jerry for his commitment to the community and the dedication he has shown through his service. We wish you the best!

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CTA Students Celebrate Cedar Springs Earth Day

CTA students celebrated Earth Day with the City of Cedar Springs.  City Clerk, Linda Branyan, invited the students of CTA to participate in a logo contest for the city’s 2011 Earth Day celebration.  Hunter George, 8th grader, won first place and his design was featured on the front of the Earth Day t-shirts with sponsor Choice One Bank on the back.  8th grader Kaylynn Botruff’s entry took second place with 9th grader Erin Munger taking third place.  All three students were recognized by Ms. Branyan at City Hall on Saturday, April 16.  Kaylynn Botruff was unable to attend but Hunter George and Erin Munger are pictured with all three entries.  Hunter is also pictured with Ms. Branyan.  Thank you to the City of Cedar Springs for encouraging the Chargers to join the Earth Day celebration!

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Community Night to celebrate 25 years

Community Night is April 21 from 6-9 p.m. at Cedar Springs High School

AeroMed is always a big draw at Community Night. Post photo by J. Reed.

It was 25 years ago, in 1986, when the idea for a “Community Dinner” for Cedar Springs Public School, the City of Cedar Springs, and the school district area was born.
According to an article written five years ago by Shirley Hans, a former education booster and school board member, they were looking for some way to involve the community and schools in some experiences that would encourage everyone to work more together for the community as a whole, and share things the students were doing in their classes. “We wanted more parents, businesses, clubs and organizations, and community members to learn more about each other and the good things we were all doing. It could be fun, free, and positive advertising for us all,” she wrote.
Invitations were delivered for the first “Community Dinner,” as it was then called. It was held at the Middle School (now Cedar View) and most of the participants were school booths, area clubs and groups who handed out information, and area restaurants that handed out samples of food. It was fun, but too much work for the restaurants, so modifications were made. After a few years the dinner portion was dropped and it became “Community Night.”
The Community Action Network (CAN) now oversees the event, and it’s now a tradition for many businesses, organizations, churches, and school groups to participate in Community Night, held each April at Cedar Springs High School.
Come celebrate with your friends and neighbors at this year’s Community Night on April 21 from 6-9 p.m. at Cedar Springs High School. There will be fun, prizes and free cake for everyone!

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Cedar Creek cleanup this weekend

By Judy Reed

It’s that time of year again—time to get out and clean up Cedar Creek and the surrounding area!
The City of Cedar Springs will be holding their fourth annual Earth Day cleanup this Saturday, April 16. The day starts at 8 a.m. with E-waste collection behind Cedar Springs city hall. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, modems, power cords, etc.
Then meet at 10 a.m. at the trail staging area on W. Maple Street (west off Main) to clean up Cedar Creek. Volunteers report to the staging area to receive their t-shirts and clean-up assignments. The first 100 registered get a free shirt!
After the cleanup, there will be a pizza party at noon the American Legion for the clean up crews, with awards for winners of the logo and photography contests.
There will be a city surplus auction at 1 p.m. Visit the city’s website at www.cityofcedarsprings.org for a list of items, and to download a registration form for the cleanup.
Cedar Creek is one of our greatest assets. Our town, the second village in Kent County, was established along that creek and named for both the springs that flowed from it and the Cedar trees that bordered it. It supports wildlife and flora, and is a key component of the future plans of this city. Our city will only be as beautiful as we make it.

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Celebrate Earth Day the Cedar Springs way

By Judy Reed

Do you have any old junk computers and monitors lying around? What about personal documents you are afraid to throw away because of the personal information on them? Would you like to see Cedar Creek clean again? Or buy some seedlings? What do all of these have in common? They are all part of Cedar Springs’ 3rd annual Earth Day 2010 celebration!

The city will hold their Earth Day celebration on April 24, starting at 8 a.m. with E-waste collection behind Cedar Springs city hall. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, modems, power cords, etc. Televisions will not be accepted, however, you can drop them off at Comprenew at 629 Ionia SW in Grand Rapids for a $10 recycling fee.

New this year is personal document shredding at Kent County Credit Union, 14111 White Creek Avenue. Residents can bring up to two boxes of confidential information for secure shredding, such as credit card receipts, pay check stubs, savings plan statements, bills, tax records and other miscellaneous items that you no longer need.

Also new this year will be a ground breaking ceremony at the city’s new park, Veteran’s Memorial Park, at the corner of Main and Oak Streets at 9:30 a.m., followed by a tree-planting there commemorating Arbor Day.

Residents will meet again at 10 a.m. at the Fire barn on Maple Street to clean up Cedar Creek. You don’t have to pre-register to work, but the first 100 registered get a free shirt! After the cleanup, there will be a pizza party at the American Legion for the clean up crews, and a green cleaning products demonstration. There will be a city surplus auction following lunch. Visit the city’s website at www.cityofcedarsprings.org for a list of items, and to download a registration form for the cleanup.

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Community night tonight!

By the looks of this sign, it looks like someone was stepping into the excitement of Community Night a little early! The event is tonight, Thursday, April 15 from 6-9 p.m. at Cedar Springs High School. Bring your BIG foot and friends for some real fun!

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City vetoes support for Internet-only public notices

The city of Cedar Springs decided last week that the public’s right to know trumps budget cuts.

The city council vetoed support last week for state legislation that would allow municipalities to publish public notices on their websites instead of publishing them in newspapers. The Michigan Municipal League reportedly helped conceive the bills to save municipalities money.

“I would love to save $7,000 to $10,000 a year but I don’t agree with this,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Christine Fahl.

The agenda called for a resolution supporting the language in house bill 5858, one of six bills addressing the issue. Under the bill, the city would be able to post one public notice in their office, and post another in one of three places: on their website, in the newspaper, or on a public access television channel. Currently they must be published in a newspaper of record.

Cedar Springs Post Editor Judy Reed wrote the city a letter reminding them why publishing public notices in the newspaper are important to the public. The letter was read at the meeting. Some of her points included: public notices should be published in a medium independent of the municipality; they should be verifiable (such as through an affidavit) to make sure notice was properly given; they should be archivable; and they should be accessible to a broad range of people.

“There is a high demand for 100 percent government transparency and we believe taking public notices out of the newspaper would be a giant step backward,” said Reed.

All the council members agreed.

“I have a access to a computer but I don’t want to be trapped to a screen,” remarked Councilor Pat Capek.

“I think our job is to make it accessible to all the people,” said Councilor Pamela Conley.

“(Publishing only on the Internet) would eliminate a whole chunk of people,” noted Councilor Raymond Huckleberry.

Councilor Ronny Merlington acknowledged his love for newspapers, both the Grand Rapids Press and the Post, and said he hated to see them get any smaller.

“I appreciate the Post and what they do for the community,” said Councilor Ronny Merlington. “People are grabbing those Posts left and right. I want to be able to read my newspapers,” he said.

The decision was unanimous by the council to veto support for the language in the bill, and they directed City Manager Christine Burns to send a letter to our representative letting him know their decision.

Reed urges residents to call or write their state representatives to urge them to vote against the legislation.

The letter written to City Council:
April 8, 2010

The City of Cedar Springs
PO Box 310
66 South Main Street
Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Dear Cedar Springs City Council,

It is with much regret that we see your intention to support the language in House Bill 5848, a bill that would give cities the freedom to no longer publish legal notices in the area newspaper.  Instead, it says that they can post them in their office, and one of the following: on their own website, in the local newspaper, or the public education channel for the area.

As the city’s newspaper of record, The Cedar Springs Post holds published public notices in high regard. Public notices in newspapers are part of the three-legged stool of government accountability. (The other two are public meetings and public records.) Public notices help to inform the public on activities by the government and other public entities. Public notices have been included in newspapers from the beginning of the Republic. Now they are also on many newspapers’ websites.

A valid public notice should have four key elements:
* It should be published in a medium independent of the government or other entity compelled to provide notice.
* It should be verifiable so that citizens can satisfy themselves that notice was properly given. An affidavit from the newspaper attesting to the type and date of publication is the typical verification, and these are often used in litigation to demonstrate that due process requirements were met.
* It should be archivable so that future generations can retrieve it.
* It should be accessible to a broad range of people. Surveys demonstrate that a wide majority of citizens believe public notices should be in newspapers.

Publishing online does not meet those key elements.

There is a high demand from the public right now for 100 percent transparency in government.  We believe taking public notices out of newspapers would be a giant step backward.


Judy Reed, Editor
The Cedar Springs Post

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